Nassau County is among the most dangerous places in the metropolitan area, and the nation, for older pedestrians, according to a report released Tuesday.
In Nassau, the fatality rate for pedestrians aged 60 and older is 4.67 per 100,000 people -- more than twice the national rate of 2.08 for pedestrians in that age group.
Forty-five percent of the 87 pedestrians killed in Nassau County from 2007 through 2009 were 60 or older, the report by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign found. The nonprofit advocacy group's study prompted renewed calls from safety advocates for passage of state Complete Streets legislation that would require the designers of major road construction and construction projects to consider all users of the road, including pedestrians, bicyclists and riders of buses and other public transit.
"The older population, they're being disproportionately killed while walking in their own communities," said Bill Ferris, New York State lobbyist for the AARP. "That's unacceptable."
Eileen Peters, the state Department of Transportation's regional spokeswoman, said the agency has included pedestrian safety features, where feasible, in all its major Long Island road projects in the past decade.
The Complete Streets approach encourages designs that slow cars on approach to intersections, and help pedestrians cross safely. They include narrowed lanes, landscaped medians, crosswalk countdown signals, shorter crossing distances and pedestrian islands.
So far, 25 states have adopted Complete Streets policies.
The group's report analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on 433 pedestrian fatalities from 2007 through 2009 in 35 counties in downstate New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.
Nassau had the fourth-highest fatality rate for pedestrians aged 60 or older. Brooklyn was first, followed by Atlantic County, N.J., and Manhattan.
Suffolk County ranked 18th. Twenty-three percent of the 94 pedestrians killed there in the same time period were aged 60 or older.
Arterial roads -- multilane routes such as Hempstead Turnpike and Sunrise Highway -- are particularly dangerous for pedestrians aged 60 or over, accounting for nearly two-thirds of older pedestrian fatalities in the metropolitan area, the report found.
"Many of them are preventable," said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
Advocates also called for the state DOT to make good on its pledge to expand its SafeSeniors pilot program, which began on Long Island in 2009 and included improvements at intersections on Main Street in Smithtown and on Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont, Franklin Square and Hempstead Village.
Peters said the DOT will do so "as resources allow."